Bollywood star convicted of poaching deer
Salman Khan gets five-year prison sentence
Black Buck antelopes resting in the shade at the zoo in New Delhi, India. Bollywood star Salman Khan has been convicted of shooting two rare blackbuck deer in a western India wildlife preserve in 1998. Photograph: Gurinder Osan, AP
Bollywood star Salman Khan. Photograph: Joel Ryan/PA
Bollywood star Salman Khan has been convicted of poaching rare deer in a wildlife preserve two decades ago and sentenced to five years in prison.
The actor contends he did not shoot the two blackbuck deer in the western India preserve in 1998 and was acquitted in related cases.
He was in court for the ruling in the western city of Jodhpur on Thursday. He is expected to be taken to a local prison while it could take days for his lawyers to appeal the conviction and seek bail.
Four other stars also accused in the case — Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam — were acquitted by chief judicial magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri. They were in the jeep that Salman Khan was believed to be driving during the hunt.
Khan had been sentenced to prison terms of between one and five years in related cases before being acquitted by appeals courts for lack of evidence. The blackbuck is an endangered species protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.
Actor Khan has had other brushes with the law. In 2014, the Mumbai high court acquitted him in a drink-driving hit-and-run case. The judges found prosecutors failed to prove charges of culpable homicide. Prosecutors accused Khan of driving while intoxicated in 2002 and running over five men sleeping on a pavement, killing one of them.
The government of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, has challenged his acquittal in the supreme court.